My thanks to Mike G3XDV for providing some good advice for
beginners - I think that we have the first draft of an 'LF
Elmer's Handbook' contained within Mike's recent Email!
Mike also wrote:
If I had been restricted to 5W in my early days I would have given up long ago,
and I am sure that Steve would have done so, too.
I'm sorry if I conveyed an impression of 'restriction' in my
earlier Email. What I really wanted to demonstrate was that
newcomers to 136 kHz could use QRP as an 'entry level' stepping
stone to this fascinating band.
Let's go back to mid-March 1998, and consider my own experience.
Using a less-than-optimum receive set-up, GW0GHF (42 km) was the
first station to hear my 15 W signal on 136 kHz. At the time, I
was using a very poor single-turn loop antenna: tuned by very
lossy capacitors; and fed by a very lossy balun (wound on an
EMC-grade toroidal core).
By the following week, I had completed my first QSO with Graham
G3XTZ over a distance of 157 km: with me still plugging away with
my 15 W into that same loop - fed by a rather warm matching
network! For me, that QSO was my stepping stone.
Be realistic: If you have a 40m dipole, 8m above ground and strapped as a
Marconi, over poor soil, you are wasting your time with 5W.
Wow! I wish I had such a big antenna! I wonder how it would
perform against my 12 m vertical (with no top loading)?
Seriously though, 5 watts into a small antenna can still make
quite an effective set-up for those first LF QSOs across town. I
trust that I have proved this to be the case. I'll leave it to
others to decide whether I was wasting my time.
Regards to all,